Last updated: September 4, 2019.
Your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile is your funding résumé. So what can you do to get it in front of funders, donors, and other key decision makers? We already covered a few helpful tools in Part 1 of this series. Here’s a quick summary in case you missed it:
Tool #1: a hammer—to hammer out the basics ...
- If you are a tax-exempt organization, you already have a Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar. We created it using information from the IRS and, in some cases, your organization’s Form 990.
- Your profile is only showing basic information. You can share more information (for free!) by earning a Seal of Transparency (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum).
Tool #2: a measuring tape—to measure your skills, resources, and available information BEFORE updating your profile ...
- Tip #1: Delegate. Assign pieces of your organization’s profile to colleagues or volunteers.
- Tip #2: Do your prep work. Gather all information before sitting down to update.
- Tip #3: Don’t overdo it. Keep your text short and sweet. Glanceable. Bite-size.
CLAIM YOUR PROFILE
Now that you have a hammer and a tape measure, you’re ready to build yourself a good foundation for updating your profile. Here’s your first task:
Become a manager for your organization’s profile: For security purposes, we approve who receives access to each profile. It’s incredibly easy to become a manager! Just read this quick guide to learn how to do so in no time.
THE BRONZE SEAL OF TRANSPARENCY
Got approved as a manager for your profile? Now you’re ready to hit the ground running. Here’s your second task. Earn a Bronze Seal of Transparency!
WHY EARN A BRONZE SEAL???
If you’re going to spend 20 minutes on fundraising today, you should spend it on reaching Bronze. Why? GuideStar powers more than 200 charitable websites and applications, including AmazonSmile, Facebook, Network for Good, JustGive, and the major donor-advised funds (Fidelity Charitable, for example). In one-third of an hour, you can provide up-to-date information, such as your primary contact and main address, to all of these websites in one go!
It’ll save you time. Here’s a good example. I once worked with a man who had spent six months correcting his organization’s address on 80 different websites. Unfortunately for him, GuideStar was his last stop. If he had come to GuideStar six months sooner, all 80 (and more!) of those websites would have been updated much, much sooner.
You’ll share your organization’s story with millions of users. The Bronze Seal asks you about the programs you run every day. This information is visible to not just the 8 million users on GuideStar but also the millions others who visit our partners’ sites.
Here’s a good example. AmazonSmile, a passive fundraising stream created by Amazon.com, displays information from the Bronze Seal on its website. When an Amazon user chooses a charity to receive a percentage of his or her purchases, the user is provided with your organization’s mission statement, program information, and more.
Compare Little Hearts’ AmazonSmile information to what a donor sees for an organization that hasn’t updated (name and location covered to protect the un-updated):
Okay, one more example. Facebook recently launched a new set of tools, Facebook Fundraisers, which allows any Facebook user to create a fundraiser for the charity of his or her choice. By filling out the Bronze Seal, your organization’s name, cause area, location, and mission statement will be visible for all to see. How’s that for extending your reach!
Have I convinced you to update your profile, yet? I sincerely hope so. Your profile is one of the best marketing tools out there, and I want you to take full advantage of it!
YOU CONVINCED ME. HOW DO I EARN A BRONZE SEAL?
Going back to our tool metaphor, you’re going to need some nails. In this case, you’ll need to gather little bits of basic information. Just like nails, you probably already have this information lying around. You just need to find it! Search in your desk. Look on your website. Here’s what you should be looking for:
- Organization address, contact name, and e-mail
- Mission statement
- Name of organization leader and board chair
- Program names, descriptions, and population served
- Geographic area served by program
- NTEE codes and keywords
- Payment address
See the full list of fields (required and optional) for the Bronze level.
Got everything? That means you’re ready to start updating your profile. Get going by clicking here!
You’ve given your profile a solid foundation by earning the Bronze Seal. But we’ve just scratched the surface. Donors, funders, and other key decision makers are looking for in-depth information about your organization, which stems from the Silver, Gold, and Platinum Seals of Transparency. Be on the lookout for more tools in the next post focusing on the Silver Seal of Transparency.
If you have specific topics you'd like to discuss, questions, or are just plain curious about GuideStar’s Seals of Transparency, please leave a comment below.
In the meantime, check out these top guides to get you started on updating your organization’s profile:
- How to Achieve the Bronze Seal of Transparency
- How to Qualify Your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile with the AmazonSmile Program
- How to Qualify Your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile with Facebook Fundraising Tools
Madeline Kardos is GuideStar’s marketing and communications associate. She creates all kinds of content and leads outreach for GuideStar’s Profile Update Program. Before joining the nonprofit world, Madeline started in content marketing, writing for contact center software companies in San Francisco, CA. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Film & Media Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.